This book grew out of a sense that contemporary philosophy lacks a self-image that does it justice. Of the self-images that philosophy inherited from the twentieth century, the most prominent – natural-ism, the linguistic turn, postmodern irony, and so on – seemed obviously inadequate to most of the most interesting work in contemporary philosophy: as descriptions, false when bold, uninformative when cautious. Less prominent alternatives too seemed implausible or ill-
developed. Although an adequate self-image is not a recondition of all virtue, it helps. If philosophy misconceives what it is doing, it is likely to do it worse. In any case, an adequate self-image is worth having for its own sake; we are not supposed to be leading the unexamined life. This is my attempt to do better.